Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hana Begum: Beaten to death in the name of justice in Bangladesh

Hana Begum. Photo: BBC.
It's hard to ignore the story of a young Bangladeshi girl who was publicly whipped - in the name of justice under the Sharia law - and "bled to death" in January 2010

Hana Begum, 14-year-old, was reportedly accused of having an affair with a married man. On the basis of this accusation, the teenager was sentenced to 80 lashes by a village Islamic court in Shariatpur, Bangladesh. Her family told the BBC that the teenager died six days after she was flogged.

It's worth mentioning that initial post-mortem results conflict with a second post-mortem ordered by the High Court.

After her body was exhumed on the orders of the High Court, doctors found "injuries" and reported that Hana died "because of bleeding." This finding conflicts with initial post-mortem results, and corroborates a statement made by her father - "my daughter has been beaten to death in the name of justice."

Bangladesh is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which it acceded to on September 2000.

Article 6 of the ICCPR states that "everyone has the inherent right to life. The right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."

Article 7 stipulates that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

The People's Republic of Bangladesh is also party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which accords all children (including Hana Begum) the right to protection of the law. Article 19 of the CRC obliges States Parties to protect children from all forms of violence or abuse, maltreatment or exploitation.

Drawing from the above covenants - the government of Bangladesh has failed in its obligations under international law.

The state should thoroughly and impartially investigate the death of Hana Begun, bring those responsible to justice and protect all children within its borders from such cruelty.

Some noticeable steps have been taken in this direction. A police investigation for murder is on-going; doctors who carried out the initial autopsy have been summoned by the High Court for questioning and five other people have been arrested in relation to the case.

This cruel punishment that was levied on Hana Begum under Sharia law was outlawed in Bangladesh by the High Court in 2010, but a lot more needs to be done to eradicate the practice.

Culprits of such unspeakable violence against a minor should bear the full weight of the law.


  1. This is one, especially not a child, should go throught this sort of tourture! no matter what the crime they "supposidly" committed! she was 14!!!! she would have been just starting high school, waiting to get her drivers license, and still being a kid! but this blog was really good && informative, in a way thank you for putting this out there....people need to see the horrid ways of this world in order to change and heal it.

  2. Though many of us believe this could only happen in the ancient China, this happens every day in the countries with undeveloped sense of human rights. I was always very impressed for how women are exploited in those places.

  3. This is what happens when any religion is unchecked.

  4. Truly frightening- reminds me of a Iranian lady who was sentenced to being stoned to death. These punishments are ridiculous.

  5. Ouch! Let's out this outrageous practice no matter where it hides.

  6. its like people dont have any consciousness of their own actions. very sad

  7. and i think whatever punishment was meted out to that married man who she was allegedly having this affair with.that's the double standard of the society beside its cruelty inflicted on a child.

  8. As a result of events in Egypt the influence of the Western community will amplify in the Arabian world. As the West has the influential partner – middle class and intelligency with liberal, and, with the Right-wing liberal sights here.

  9. These things do not happen only there. In Bulgaria these things happen every is horrible.


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